S7HD: 1 in 10 Illinois children have high lead levels in blood
(KBSI) – One in 10 children ages six and younger in Illinois have lead levels in their blood that is too high, according to the Southern 7 Health Department.
The buildup of lead in the body is known as lead poisoning. Of the one million children ages 6 years and younger in Illinois, approximately 100,000 have blood levels that are too high, according to the S7HD.
Even a small amount of lead can harm a child’s brain, kidneys, and stomach, as well as slow development and cause learning and behavior problems.
October 23 through 29 was National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week. Southern 7 Health Department encourages parents and caregivers to take the necessary precautions to prevent lead poisoning.
All children 6 months to 6 years should be assessed for their risk of lead poisoning, especially if they live in or regularly visit a home that has paint original to 1978 or before.
The Southern 7 Health Department can do a simple blood test. If too much lead is found in the blood, the child may need treatment.
Women planning to have a baby should also be tested for lead, according to S7HD. Lead in a mother’s body can cause a baby to be born too small and too early.
The best way to prevent lead poisoning is to get the lead out.
- Wash your child’s hands before they eat.
- Foods high in Vitamin C, iron, and calcium, such as meat eggs, raisins, greens, mild, cheese, fruits and potatoes, help get the lead out of a child’s system.
- Wash your child’s toys often and throw away lead-painted toys.
- Do not store food in open cans or pottery.
- If you work with lead, shower and change clothes before coming home. Wash your work clothes separately.
- Run cold water for a few minutes before using it for cooking and drinking. Do not use water from the hot water tap for cooking, drinking or making formula.
- Wear protective clothing, including gloves and a facemask to clean up chipping and peeling paint inside and outside your home. Wash all clothing separately.
Testing for blood lead is available through Southern 7 Health Department on both the IDPH Wellness on Wheels (WOW) Van and public health clinics. To schedule a blood lead screening for a child, or for more information about testing, call S7HD at 618-634-2297.
Call the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Illinois Lead Program at 866-909-3572 for more information on getting the lead out of your home safely.